Clinical bone health among adults with cerebral palsy: moving beyond assessing bone mineral density alone

Daniel G. Whitney, Michelle S. Caird, Gregory A. Clines, Edward A. Hurvitz, Karl J. Jepsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Aim: To understand associations among bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC), and bone area, and their association with fractures in adults with cerebral palsy (CP). Method: This retrospective cohort study included 78 adults with CP with a hip dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) from 1st December 2012 to 3rd May 2021 performed at the University of Michigan. Data-driven logistic regression techniques identified which, if any, DXA-derived bone traits (e.g. age/sex/ethnicity-based z-scores) were associated with fracture risk by sex and severity of CP. BMC-area associations were examined to study the structural mechanisms of fragility. Results: Femoral neck area was associated with lower age-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of fracture history (OR 0.72; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.49–1.06; p=0.098), while higher BMD was associated with higher odds of incident fracture (OR 3.08; 95% CI 1.14–8.33; p=0.027). Females with fracture had lower area than females without fracture but similar BMC, whereas males with fracture had larger area and higher BMC than males without fracture. The paradoxical BMD-fracture association may be due to artificially elevated BMD from BMC-area associations that differed between females and males (sex interaction, p˂0.05): males had higher BMC at lower area values and lower BMC at higher area values compared to females. Interpretation: BMD alone may not be adequate to evaluate bone strength for adults with CP. Further research into associations (or integration) between BMC and area is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-475
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


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